The first time my mother mentioned ‘per- per’ to me, I had no idea what she was talking about. She explained that it was a type of green that grew wild, and that her mother (my Nanny – and Nanny’s Armenian lady friends) would gather as much per – per as possible when it was in season. Per-per is a low-trailing plant with yellow flowers that grows with reckless abandon. These women, with their radar-like senses, knew just where to find it.
(Image from plant.photos.net)
What does purslane taste like? Mom said its taste is similar to spinach, with an herbal, lemony tang. Personally, I wouldn’t know.
Don’t rush to your local grocery store to find purslane. You’re better off going to a farmer’s market or looking in a garden center where they sell potted flowers, herbs and vegetables – or if you find a packet of seeds (available on the internet), you can grow your own. It needs full sun, is generally drought tolerant and isn’t fussy about the soil’s condition.
Purslane (Per – Per) Salad
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 medium seedless cucumber, peeled, chopped
2 cups purslane leaves, gently, but thoroughly, washed; pat dry
2 cups lettuce (your choice), washed, cut into bit-sized pieces
½ cup Italian parsley, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
Juice of one lemon
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. ground sumac, optional
Salt and pepper to taste